When to use Heat or Ice for Pain

When to use Heat or Ice for Pain

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Rebecca Paratore, Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant

Heat helps increase blood flow to the area which can help with achy or stiff joints and relax tense muscles. Heat should be applied to the area for 15-20 minutes and should be warm not hot. Using heat can help relieve stiff arthritic joint pain and relax tense neck muscles that can cause headaches.

Using ice or cold packs also known as cryotherapy will constrict blood vessels which can help reduce swelling and pain when used for an acute injury. Using cryotherapy can help with tendinitis inflammation and reduce pain when used multiple times a day for 10-15 minutes.

To benefit the most from heat or cryotherapy you should use cryotherapy for an acute injury to help reduce swelling and then switch to heat to help promote relaxation to stiff joints or muscles. Using heat or ice can be a short-term fix for an injury if you are still having pain please call us and we can help you relieve that pain in many ways with our skilled and friendly staff.


I am very happy for a chance to review RMPT. After a bone breaking fall , on hard ground, they were able to rid me of the pain and make it possible for me to walk again. As i have no car, Stacey worked carefully to coordinate my rides and available appointments and Kaleb’s unusual expertise, patience, and encouragement, gave me a new start in only 3 months. What a joy to work with such professionals!

(South Fort Collins Clinic)


I feel very safe & secure with this group of friendly, fun, competent professionals! I have been working with them for several months and have progressed under their care! No matter how bad I feel I always leave feeling better. I have faith in their ability to help me heal! They are energetic, eager to help and skilled! I’m so happy I have RMPT!

(Fort Collins-Central Clinic)

Rocky Mountain PT has turned out to be an excellent choice in doing my therapy. From the ease of scheduling through the office to the way they make you feel throughout the entire process is great. I had Derrick for the majority of my appointments and he was able to help alleviate so many of the post surgery issues I was having. He was always open ears to how I was feeling and I could tell he has a passion for really trying to "help". From one small business to another its nice to see a company that truly cares. Thank You Derrick!

(Loveland Clinic)

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